Longing

clouds

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The feeling inside that you are destined for greater things
Is there because you are.
The longing for something more
Is your soul longing for home.
The emptiness you can’t define
Is the God shaped hole in your heart.

Our souls are eternal
Created for perfection
Until sin crept in,
A deadly infection.

But In His image
We were created,
And Jesus came
So that justice was sated.

This world is not home.
Our destiny is perfection.
Relationship with Christ
Leads to completion.

We are destined for greater things.
Our souls long for home in a greater place.
We are children of God, our hearts well know
And our longing is fulfilled in our Savior’s face.

                                                          ©Brenda Lenz, 2019

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Adventurous Plans

Because God made you and knows you, He has great plans in store for you. You may not know what any of those plans are yet, but you’re going to love them.This was part of my devotion this morning. I read these words and simultaneously laughed and cried. Sometimes I just don’t know what motivates some of these Devotional writers to say the things they say. I think some of them blow a little too much sunshine. I do not LOVE all of God’s plans for me. I’m just being honest. I certainly don’t love having C.D. I don’t love living in Texas (no offense to my Texan family & friends). I don’t love a lot of things that have happened in my life. On the other hand, there have been plenty of His plans that I have loved; His plan for me to meet and marry my incredible husband, His plan for me to have four beautiful and amazing children, and the list could go on and on. I believe that God has more plans for me, or at least I hope He does. I also believe that I’m not going to love them all, and I believe that they will all work together for good somehow.

God has an exciting adventure planned for you. And the best part is that He’s promised to walk with you every step of the way!This quote is also from this morning’s devotion and this I know. I have walked with Jesus for almost 25-years and it has been anything but boring. I never know exactly what He’s going to do next or where He’ll lead me. It has been the adventure of a lifetime and He has seen me through every bit of it. Some days I wake up and don’t want to get out of bed. I start the day with a black cloud over me, especially since my diagnosis. I know that as soon as I lift my crooked head off the pillow the battle will begin, and some days I just don’t want to do it. I call out to God and He’s there. I spend some time with Him and in His Word and I feel better equipped to fight the good fight. He strengthens me when I’m weak, He gives me hope when I feel hopeless, He reminds me of all that He’s blessed me with when I’m tempted to start a pity party. He encourages me, He comforts me, He is my Rock and my Salvation, and my adventures with Him thus far have indeed been exciting!

What do you think God wants you to do?These words also made me simultaneously laugh and cry because my answer is, “I have no idea!” Aside from the basic directives in the Bible, I have no idea what God wants me to do right now in this season of my life. I am still waiting for some direction there, or maybe God is waiting for me to see what’s right in front of me. Either way, I have yet to be enlightened. Prayers are always appreciated. 🙏🏻😊

God has plans for me. I won’t always love them, but I love and trust my Lord Jesus. I may not know exactly what I’m supposed to be doing with my life right now, but in His time I believe I will. As a dear friend and mentor once said, “I eagerly anticipate what He has in store for me.” Love it or not, it will be an adventure!

😊💕

C.D. Journals – June 25, 2019

It’s been awhile since I’ve journaled here about C.D. I’ve been busy with a therapy program that is pretty time consuming, and it’s going to be a long, slow process. I’ve been trying to develop a routine that works for me that I can maintain long-term. There’s no cure for Cervical Dystonia (a.k.a. Spasmodic Torticollis), but apparently there is hope for managing the symptoms. If you’re interested in knowing more about recovery, check this out.

It has been a year now since my diagnosis and I am still trying to figure this out. The disease has gotten progressively worse and I now hold my head almost constantly. I let go for a few seconds here and there when I absolutely need both hands to open a jar, for instance, or butter a piece of toast – things like that. When I do that, however, I have to be willing to let my head go where it wills. That is always to the left, either quickly or slowly, but go it will. I’m learning to do things by feel because sometimes I can’t see what I’m doing due to the fact that I can’t make my head stay straight. I make a MESS in the kitchen these days and now leave the knife work to someone else.

That’s just a small sampling of my new reality. Social anxiety is now a thing. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t like going anywhere without backup – someone who understands my situation and will provide emotional and practical support. I hate that! It’s not someone going with me that bothers me as much as the fact that I feel I NEED someone to go with me. A lot of times, I’d rather not go at all. I use Amazon and grocery delivery more than I ever have. A big part of that is also the fact that driving is a bit of a challenge now as well. Thankfully, I have an ’03 Tahoe that allows me good visibility and the headrest fits me well. Long highway trips are not as bad as in town where constant head movements are required. I wear a brace when I drive and that helps. Still, it’s not as easy as it used to be.

This disease makes it so easy to give up because it’s a constant physical and emotional battle. Fighting your own body all day is exhausting and disheartening. My arms get tired from trying to hold my head in place while my neck muscles are contorting and contracting, and they do it almost constantly. I take a break every day and lay with my head in a U-shaped pillow, practice breathing exercises and nap for about 30-minutes. The symptoms go dormant when I sleep and the pillow helps hold my head as I attempt to relax. I have NEVER been a napper. I’ve always had too many other things to do and was rarely even tired enough. But, I am now! 😴

I’m not sharing these things to complain as much as to chronicle my journey and what I’m dealing with or learning currently. Right now, I’m still learning to adjust. I’m learning to trust that God allowing this in my life doesn’t mean that He doesn’t love me and still have good plans for me. He does and He will work this all for good. I’m also still learning what it is that I’m supposed to be learning, aside from what I’ve already mentioned. I have a feeling that there are going to be many lessons in this.

One of the more important things I’ve learned for myself is that I don’t want to give in to this disease’s temptation to give up. I need to accept that functioning differently is not giving up. Letting someone else chop the veggies while I do something I can do with one hand is not giving up, it’s functioning differently and practicing kitchen safety. 😉😂 Asking for help of any kind is not giving up. Granted, it’s hard to do sometimes, but it’s still not giving up. C.D. Is just one huge adjustment of almost every aspect of my life . . . and that’s life. As the ancient philosopher, Heraclitus, once said, “The only constant in life is change.” I’m doing my best to adapt to this particular season of change and I think that’s all any of us can do – our best. 🤕

😊💕

The Truth About My Father

I’m going to be very transparent with you here. I am not one of those Christians who are always bubbling over with joy; mostly smiling, glowing from the inside out, and oh so loving and patient. I wish I were. I’ve always wanted to be like them, but no. At least not yet. No, I’m more the serious type; analytical and sometimes doubtful in my faith. I ask more questions than maybe I should and I see God more as stern and serious than anything else.

I read devotions that tell me God “likes me”, wants to “hang out” and “laugh with me”. That He’s excited about the things that excite me. For some reason, I find this hard to believe. I know that He loves me. I have no doubt about that, but like me? That’s a horse of a different color. I see myself more as a disappointment to God. I feel more like He’s frowning at me than smiling at me.

I suspect that a lot of my issue is that I put my earthly father’s face on my Heavenly Father, which is completely unfair to God. My dad was a terrible god; abusive, emotionally distant, impossible to please – nothing like my Heavenly Father and yet . . . here I am. I’ve heard that this father transference thing is common and I think that’s very sad, especially when the earthly father was not all that great of a guy.

How to change it? That’s my question. How do I get the things I know about God; that He is faithful “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations.” -Deuteronomy 7:9 ESV, that He cares for me “Casting all your anxieties upon Him, because He cares for you.” -1Peter 5:7 ESV, He rejoices and sings over me! “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.” -Zephaniah 3:17 ESV. Those are some amazing truths and I need them to move from my head down into my heart.

I want to believe with all my heart that God and I are like the picture above. I think maybe I’ll hang that picture somewhere with the verses listed above and meditate on them and pray them until my heart gets it. The Lord and I have wrestled before and He has always helped me to understand. I am completely confident that He will help me with this. I believe in my heart that God wants me to know Him for Him and not confuse Him with someone else. “. . . For he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him -Hebrews 11:6b NASB. “For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” -Matthew 7:8 ESV.

Heavenly Father, I seek to know You for who You truly are. I desire to know in my heart, without a doubt, how You feel about me and who I am to You. More than head knowledge, Lord, I want Your truth to grow deep roots in my heart. I commit this to You and thank You that You will complete the good work You have begun in me. In the amazing name of Jesus! Amen!

😊💕

Forgiven to Forgive

Someone has hurt you terribly; cut you to the core and broken your heart. You feel as though you could NEVER forgive them. So, you don’t. You choose to carry the hurt around, wallowing in it now and then, and fantasizing about how to hurt them back. Or, at least, thinking about different ways the situation could have gone in your favor. Imagining yourself walking away with your dignity intact and the perpetrator regretting what they had done.

Unfortunately, it rarely goes the way of our “after the fact” imaginations or we wouldn’t be imagining something different. No. We’ve been hurt and we have to make a choice; hang on to the hurt, ignore it altogether and just pretend it never happened, or let it go and forgive.

Hanging onto the hurt is the most toxic choice, I think. It stays inside your heart and festers. It’s like a parasite that eats you up from the inside; breeding resentment and hatred. It turns very nasty and hurts no one but yourself. As much as you may think that your suffering is somehow punishing the other person; it’s all happening internally and no one feels the pain like you do. The person who hurt you is not suffering at all. They’ve probably gone on their merry way leaving you to do all the suffering. Do you really want to give them that kind of power over you?

Ignoring it and pretending it never happened may sound like the easy solution, but your heart is smarter than that. Your heart has the memory of an elephant and you’re going to have a bit of a fight on your hands trying to ignore your hurt heart. It can be done for spurts of time, but the memory will rear it’s ugly head now and then and you’ll be back at the start. Or, the pain will manifest in other ways; anger, depression, even physical illness. Doesn’t sound so easy after all, does it?

Letting it go and forgiving. This probably sounds like the most difficult and least fun option (we do enjoy a good pity party) and it is. However, it is the most healthy and beneficial option. Unforgiveness enslaves you. Forgiveness sets you free. it doesn’t mean you forget, or even excuse the other person’s behavior. Forgiveness doesn’t even always mean the restoration of the relationship. Forgiveness means that you choose not to hold a grudge. As Dictionary.com puts it, to cease to feel resentment against“. We choose to feel differently.

“But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all wickedness.” -1 John 1:9 NLT. Those who call Jesus Christ the Lord of their lives are forgiven their sins. All the bad things that we’ve done in our lives are forgiven by God. We have a clean slate with Him, and anytime we mess up we have only to go to Him in repentance and He is quick to forgive. He is a merciful and compassionate Father. So who are we to not afford our fellow sinners – imperfect humans – the same grace? Regardless of how awful or hurtful, sin is sin and we are all sinners.

As I said, forgiveness is the more difficult option. Especially if the hurt was totally out of the blue and completely unjustified. And it is completely doable. It starts with a choice and a confession to God. Admit to Him your feelings, every last ugly one of them, and tell Him that you’re choosing to forgive. You may need to do this over and over again until your heart goes along with it and you are truly no longer feeling resentful. Nothing worth having comes easy. A healed heart and the freedom that comes with it is WELL worth having!

😊💕

In Honor of Mother’s Day

purple petaled glower besode pen

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A Mother’s Heart

The pain of a child is magnified
In the loving heart of its mother
She carries the burden and feels the hurt
more deeply than any other.
Regardless of the child’s age,
she never really lets go.
The apron strings may have been cut,
but with heartstrings it’s never so.
Joy to joy and trial by trial
she watches her baby grow.
Tenderly caring, worrying and wondering
in what direction their life will go.

The happiness of a child is multiplied
in the loving heart of its mother.
She cherishes the smiles and records the laughter
all stored in her memory forever.
Regardless of the child’s age,
she lives for those happy moments.
Their laughter is music to her ears.
Her children fill up her senses.
Their smiles are her treasure,
their hugs her fortune,
and when they say, “I love you”
her day is won!

The life of a child is held forever
in the loving heart of its mother.
The deepest pain, the greatest joy,
The heart of a mother is like no other.

                                                                                                      © 2019, Brenda Lenz

Not To Be Remiss

aerial photography of body of water

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It occurred to me this morning that I have been remiss in my travel journaling.  I have been to this place twice in the past six months and have yet to share it with you.  For this, I apologize.  ☺️

The place?  Branson, Missouri.  A bit of a mystery to some and home away from home for others.  I, personally, had never heard of the place until I moved from California to Texas.  California has it’s own playgrounds; Palm Springs, Lake Tahoe, Vegas.  Apparently Branson is a playground for the middle southern part of the country.  A lot of folks from Texas and Arkansas in particular visit there.  At least that’s where a lot of the people I’ve met were from.  Branson gets visitors from all over the world though.  I learned this on our last visit while signing a guest book at one of our favorite spots there.  So, if you’re unfamiliar with Branson and curious at the same time, read on.

The first thing I heard about Branson was the shows.  I had not been there yet, but my best friend goes frequently and was telling me a little bit about it.  What I pictured in my mind was nothing like the reality!  I basically pictured a strip of road lined with theatres, and that was it.  Ha!  Was I surprised when I actually saw it for the first time.

My first sighting was a lake and a beautiful bridge crossing over it.  It turns out, there are all kinds of water activities in Branson at Table Rock Lake; Lake Taneycomo, and Rockaway Beach.  Lake Taneycomo runs like a river alongside Branson to Rockaway Beach.  One of the best views of Table Rock Lake can be found at Top of The Rock.  A beautiful site to visit all on it’s own.  There is a museum, a golf course, restaurant, shopping, and Big Cedar Lodge.  A Branson “must-do” in my opinion.

I think of Branson as a combination of Lake Tahoe, CA.; Fredericksburg, TX; and Las Vegas, NV (without the gambling).  Branson is a very family friendly place.  I only included Vegas because of the shows – which are also family friendly.  The shows are too numerous to mention.  I will say, however, that if you go and there is a show at the Sight and Sound Theater – go see it!  I also recommend a group called “Six”.  My words can’t do them justice.  If you like music and comedy – see their show.

In addition to all the shows, there is shopping galore!  Thus the Fredericksburg reference.  Downtown and Branson Landing are my two favorite shopping areas.  There is also no shortage of restaurants should you work up an appetite while shopping.  Paula Deen even has a new restaurant coming at The Landing.  I saw the construction going on during my last visit this past April.

I don’t travel with kids so much anymore, but I know there is plenty for them to do in Branson as well.  Miniature golf courses and go-kart tracks are all over Branson.  I’ve heard tell that Silver Dollar City theme park is a great place to hang out with the kids.  I don’t think there’s really anything you could do in Branson that the kids wouldn’t be welcome to and even enjoy.  Some of the smaller ones may get bored with a show or two, but even that’s questionable.

Branson has something for just about everyone whether you’re into hiking or your idea of hiking is browsing the shops along the main.  Good food, good fun, good people.  That’s my experience of Branson, Missouri and I would be remiss to not share it with you.

Happy Travels!
🛵😊